Energy drinks are beverages designed to give the consumer a burst of energy by using a combination of methylxanthines (including caffeine), B vitamins, and exotic herbal ingredients. Energy drinks commonly include caffeine, guarana (extracts from the guarana plant), taurine, various forms of ginseng, maltodextrin, inositol, carnitine, creatine, glucuronolactone and ginkgo biloba. Some contain high levels of sugar, while most brands also offer an artificially sweetened version. The central active ingredient in energy drinks is caffeine, the same stimulant found in coffee or tea, often in the form of guarana or yerba mate. The average 237 ml (8 fl. oz.) energy drink has about 80mg of caffeine, about the same amount as a weak cup of coffee, with 480 ml (16 fl. oz.) drinks containing around 150mg, although recent drinks have created a stir by containing as much as 300mg of caffeine.
These drinks are typically marketed to young people, and people ‘on the go.’ Approximately 65% percent of energy drink users are under the age of 35 years old, with males representing approximately 65% of the market.
Energy drinks may cause seizures in those who suffer from certain forms of epilepsy due to the “crash” following the energy high that occurs after consumption.

When energy drinks are combined with alcohol

Energy drinks are also used as mixers with alcohol. This combination carries a number of dangers:
• Since energy drinks are stimulants and alcohol is a depressant, the combination of effects may be dangerous. The stimulant effects can mask how intoxicated you are and prevent you from realizing how much alcohol you have consumed. Fatigue is one of the ways the body normally tells someone that they’ve had enough to drink.
• The stimulant effect can give the person the impression they aren’t impaired. No matter how alert you feel, your blood alcohol concentration is the same as it would be without the energy drink. Once the stimulant effect wears off, the depressant effects of the alcohol will remain and could cause vomiting in your sleep or respiratory depression.
• Both energy drinks and alcohol are very dehydrating (the caffeine in energy drinks is a diuretic). Dehydration can hinder your body’s ability to metabolize alcohol and will increase the toxicity, and therefore the hangover, the next day.

Are there short-term dangers to drinking energy drinks?

Individual responses to caffeine vary, and these drinks should be treated carefully because of how powerful they are. Energy drinks’ stimulating properties can boost the heart rate and blood pressure (sometimes to the point of palpitations), dehydrate the body, and, like other stimulants, prevent sleep.
Energy drinks should not be used while exercising as the combination of fluid loss from sweating and the diuretic quality of the caffeine can leave the user severely dehydrated.
Know what you’re drinking. Energy drinks are not necessarily bad for you, but they shouldn’t be seen as “natural alternatives” either. Some of the claims they make like “improved performance and concentration” can be misleading. If you think of them as highly-caffeinated drinks, you’ll have a more accurate picture of what they are and how they affect you. You wouldn’t use Mountain Dew as a sports drink. And a drink like Red Bull and vodka is more like strong coffee and whisky than anything else.

What are the health effects of energy drinks?

Not enough is currently known about energy drinks and their effect on health and wellbeing. The producers of energy drinks make many claims about the health effects of their products. They say that their products can increase physical endurance, improve reaction time, boost mental alertness and concentration, increase overall wellbeing,Super canette de Red Bull stimulate metabolism, improve stamina and help eliminate waste from the body. The drinks are marketed as healthy, fun and youthful, and many children, young people and adults are taken in by the excitement created around them, believing these claims to be true. However, the evidence shows that it may be wise to be cautious in our consumption of energy drinks.
Caffeine, taurine and glucuronolactone occur naturally in the body, but the fact that they are present in much higher doses in energy drinks may be cause for concern. Scientists say that caffeine can have an effect on the growing brain and that it may cause a decline in the body’s immune system. For now, health authorities have determined that energy drinks are generally safe for consumption, with some caution.

Energy Drinks Should Not Be Consumed During Exercise

Energy drinks should not be confused with sports drinks such as Gatorade, which are consumed to help people stay hydrated during exercise. Sports drinks also provide carbohydrates in the form of sugar and electrolytes that may be lost through perspiration.

The caffeine in energy drinks acts as a diuretic and promotes dehydration.

Do they really give you energy?

Energy drinks may give you a temporary energy boost. The “boost” typically comes from the large amount of sugar and caffeine these drinks contain.
Although the various sugars used to sweeten energy drinks can briefly increase energy, consuming large quantities of sugar is likely to cause weight gain. Caffeine is a stimulant, which also can temporarily perk you up. But too much caffeine can cause adverse side effects, such as nervousness, irritability, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and insomnia.
Energy drinks are not necessarily bad for your health. But you shouldn’t see them as some “natural” energy boost — the boost they give is from caffeine. Some of the claims made by manufacturers of energy drinks — such as “improves performance and increases concentration” — can be misleading.
Consider a better way to boost your energy: Get adequate sleep, exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. These strategies not only will increase your energy in the short run, but also will help you maintain your overall physical and mental fitness in the long run.

Conclusion

Evidence is beginning to emerge that energy drinks may be harmful to some members of our community. It may be best to avoid giving these drinks to children under the age of ten. With older children and young people, watch closely the amount of energy drinks they consume as well as any effects on their mood or behavior. If you are unsure or would like further advice, consult your doctor or other health professional

Sources: Health Education, Health Nine, Wikipedia

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